Workshop: Self-Determination and the National Question
Hear John Parker, Workers World Party National Committee and International Action Center West Coast Coordinator, lead a class on Lenin, Self-Determination and The National Question. There will be lots of opportunity for discussion and questions.
From the writings of Sam Marcy (deceased Chairman of Workers World Party) in September 1971, when the government was doing everything it could to break up the Black Panther Party and other liberation organizations. Sam wrote: “Is there an inherent contradiction between the right of nations to self-determination and the building of a united working-class Party to attract to itself workers of all nationalities from the oppressing nations as well as from the oppressed nations? The answer is no! “The need of the workers to organize themselves into a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Party and to unite them in the struggle against capitalism is an indispensable necessity for a victorious proletarian revolution. ... “[Some] say that each nation within the confines of the U.S. should build their own Party and that since the workers of the oppressing nation and the workers of the oppressed nation have different problems arising from the nature of the oppression, it is impossible, at least for now, to have a single united Party.
“The logical conclusion of this thinking is that the whites should have one organization, Blacks another, Puerto Ricans another, etc. Assume that political evolution in this country favored such a development. The result then would be that we would have several Marxist-Leninist organizations. And if each had a generally Marxist-Leninist program, it would evolve from a loose alliance of these Marxist-Leninist organizations into a federation and finally into a unified multi-national political Party. ... “When Lenin added to the slogan ‘Workers of the world unite’ to make it ‘Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite,’ he summarized the historical needs of the international working class to make the right of oppressed nations to self-determination a basic part of the revolutionary working-class program. The working class cannot emancipate itself without at the same time destroying, root and branch, every form of national oppression. “Nor can there be any unity between the workers of the oppressed and oppressing nations as long as the workers of the oppressing nation do not recognize and do not advocate the right of the oppressed nations to self-determination.
The right of self-determination can take the form of secession, federation, a variety of forms of amalgamation, or any other form, depending on concrete historical circumstances. ... “The right to self-determination is a political right which oppressed nations may use in whatever form they may ultimately decide as a nation. We must advocate and support that right. But we do not advocate separation, secession, federation or amalgamation. That is for the oppressed nation to decide. ...